New public health orders are now in place in Manitoba requiring anyone who has travelled anywhere outside the province — including within Canada — to self-isolate for 14 days when they return, chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced Thursday.
The order also restricts travel to northern Manitoba and remote communities above the 53rd parallel, except for people who are returning to their homes, delivering goods or providing services.
About 56 per cent of COVID-19 cases are directly related to international or domestic travel, said Roussin. Although the number of new cases reported in the province in recent days has been relatively low, he said that because it’s still early on in the pandemic, the new rules are required.
“The ongoing risk is the re-importation of this virus, so we’re putting up measures to do what we can to limit the importation of the virus into our province,” he said.
The travel restrictions, he said, will help prevent the spread of the coronavirus to remote communities where it’s “quite risky.”
“It’s subject to penalties if it’s not followed,” Roussin said, indicating there’s a possibility checkpoints might be put in place to educate people travelling north.
The orders are in effect until May 1. Self-isolation had previously been a recommendation for domestic travellers, but wasn’t mandated.
Roussin says the province is in the planning stages to determine how it can start lifting some of the rules that have been put in place during the pandemic.
There are four new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba as of Thursday, bringing the total to 250.
Eight people are currently in hospital, including four people in intensive care.
In Manitoba, 121 people have now recovered from the virus, Roussin said, leaving the number of active cases — patients who still have the coronavirus — at 124.
The number of COVID-19-related deaths in the province remains at five.
The province is also now expanding COVID-19 testing criteria to include all symptomatic workers or volunteers at workplaces that have been identified as essential services, Roussin said.
The testing will also include any symptomatic person who lives with a health-care worker, first responder, or a worker in any place where large groups of people stay, such as correctional facilities, shelters, long-term care homes or residential facilities.
The Cadham Provincial Lab performed 449 COVID-19 tests on Wednesday. A total of 18,349 tests have been performed in Manitoba since early February.
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